Foreigners need a Professional Visit Pass (or Pas Lawatan Ikhtisas in Malay) to undertake short-term assignments in Malaysia.
PVP is given to the following categories of people:
1) foreign advisers, technical experts and volunteers;
2) foreign artists, film directors and entertainers;
3) foreign Islamic religious teachers and preachers;
4) foreign Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh religious workers.
Depending on the category of expertise, PVP is officially given for up to a year and can be extended for a total period of 3 years. In practice, however, how long the pass is issued for is often arbitrary. Much depends on prevailing (unwritten) immigration rules.
For example, the recent sophistic rules have made life especially hard for reputable modeling agencies here wishing to bring in professional women models from traditional high-talent source countries like Russia, Ukraine and Colombia. Despite complying with fat amount of paperwork, many genuine and important applications have been either rejected or only approved for unreasonably short duration (14 days) with no right of extension simply because of the model’s nationality.
Such prejudiced moral policing is doing nothing for Malaysia’s business image except helping to fuel the growth of illegal freelancing (and the accompanying vice it seeks to prevent) while driving many agencies and clients to shoot in Thailand or Indonesia.
Kerk Boon Leng
23 May 2013